Ancient Warfare – The Pale Horse

a1024517127_10Textural Drone Rock

August 11th, 2015 – Alias Records

As soon as I put this album on, I regretted that I hadn’t listened to it yet. Recorded in Lexington at Shangri-La Studios, the eight songs on The Pale Horse are a total display of droning, textural mastery. There’s a fairly uniform sound throughout the entire album, and there’s always something going on throughout the dense layers of texture. Even songs that are less rhythmically intense are held in the moment by their constant motion and denseness; I’ve recently revisited Diamond Mine by King Creosote and Jon Hopkins, and found some familiarity between the two albums in this way. Songs like “Dreamcatcher” are defined largely by a somewhat primitive sound – the rustling of drums that surrounds the listener, and by the calculated way that the strings resolve from droning background noise into melodic ideas. “Gunsmoke” is short, catchy, and is perhaps the most pop-like song on the album, but retains its place within the album through the reverby guitar ‘whacks’ that are traded in for heavily distorted strumming once the chorus is reached. My favorite of the album is the fifth track, “Tusk & Mouth,” a song with gorgeous chord progressions that just get better – the shift that occurs at the two-and-a-half minute mark is really worth listening for. The Pale Horse is brooding, thick, beautifully written, and expertly produced – if you’ve waited this long like me, it’s most definitely time to give this a listen.

Tracks I Liked: Darlin!, Gunsmoke!, Tusk and Mouth!!, Rolling Tides!

Ben Southworth – December 13th, 2015 – Kenwick Place

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